Wingly wants to make private flights affordable for normal wage earners too
The Wingly flight platform wants to give its customers access to private flights with business jets. But the expansion into the new market raises a number of questions.
Frankfurt. Lars Klein has learned that marketing is of the utmost importance in aviation – sometimes with deliberate exaggeration. “Giving travelers the freedom to book individual seats on private jets is a revolution,” says the co-founder of the flight platform Wingly. Indeed, I had already written about in empty leg flights here, which is a similar concept, although not the same.
What Klein means: In the future, customers will be able to book a flight in a business jet under the name Wingly Jet – and that for the price of a comparable business class ticket with a scheduled operator.
That sounds attractive. After all, chartering a private jet, for example for an important business trip, often costs a five-figure sum even on short routes. “The private jet industry traditionally offers very high airfares. That will change with Wingly Jet, ”promises Klein. From now on, travelers buy a seat in the private jet and no longer buy the entire jet flight as before. “This price is five times lower than the previous flight price.”
Will private jet owners and users accept foreign passengers?
But the Wingly team’s plan has some imponderables. Andreas Mundsinger, the managing director of the German Business Aviation Association (GBAA), sees above all acceptance problems among the main customers of private jets. “In my opinion, business travelers do not accept foreign‘ passengers. ”The following applies here:“ Whoever books, pays – and whoever pays decides. ”This could lead to coordination problems. The departure times for business travelers would often change, even at short notice. “Most of the time, this logistics doesn’t work. In other words: The fellow traveler or plane comes to the airport and the plane has already left, flies three hours later or not at all because the flight was canceled, ”says Mundsinger. However, Klein wants to have this problem solved. In order to realize the new business segment, Wingly has bought certain seat contingents for individual routes from providers of private flights in the business aviation market. If a Wingly user books one of these routes, according to Klein, the flight will take place in any case – even if only a single seat is booked on the flight. The cost of the additional empty seats is not borne by the traveler, but by the provider.
Business travel planes should be better utilized
It remains to be seen whether this will work out. For the operators of private jets, the question arises as to whether the concept is sustainable in the long term if there is only one private traveler on the plane who pays little.
On the other hand, Klein lures business aviation companies to better utilize their fleets. It will not only help to better market existing flights, but also to identify the flight routes that will be coveted in the future. “The innovation from Wingly Jet requires that there is enough demand for the smaller portioned offer,” says Klein. The large Wingly community will take care of this, the swarm intelligence of the flight platform, so to speak, which is supposed to fill the aircraft sufficiently.
Improving the CO2 balance
Our goal is to achieve a seat occupancy of 75 percent, while traditional private jet companies manage 40 percent – even mostly with a completely empty return flight, ”says Klein. This in turn should help to improve the CO2 balance, a hot topic that is currently much discussed.
The 27-year-old programmer – a big travel fan – founded Wingly in 2015 together with Emeric de Wazier and Bertrand Joab-Cornu. The original idea: the platform brings amateur pilots and private individuals together via the Internet – for example for sightseeing flights or a trip to one of the North Sea islands. The cost of this flight is shared by the pilot and the customer. The pilot does not make a profit, but he reduces his costs